Viruses

I just did a bit of virus removal for a friend, one of the inventive police warning ones. I discovered a couple of useful tricks, since it’s been a while since I had to do this.

http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/ hosts a tool to manipulate a Windows registry from Linux system (Wine itself doesn’t use the real Windows registry format, so it can’t be used for this as I originally expected).

The virus did some trickery to prevent any .exe programs from running (other than some whitelisted ones), preventing access to cmd.exe, taskmgr.exe, regedit.exe or anything else you might be like to use to remove the virus. I forget the mechanism it uses to do this, but one simple fix is to rename regedit.exe to regedit.com.

It was then a disappointingly simple search through the registry to the classic HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run key where the file tpl_0_c.exe had done a rather poor job of hiding.

I ran Fedora 17 from a memory stick before going back into Windows, and the transition from Gnome Shell on a netbook to Windows XP on a netbook made me understand a lot more some of the design decisions that went into the shell. Windows XP is really fiddly to use on such tiny and crappy hardware whereas the shell felt really comfortable. I’m still not at all convinced that we should be making GNOME run on tablets, but for netbooks it makes perfect sense to maximise things by default and make the buttons bigger. Sadly some of this is coming at the expense of usability on big desktops; I’m ok with having to configure stuff to get a comfortable UI, but the recent thread where side-by-side windows were suggested as a replacement for Nautilus’ split view makes me worried that we’re losing sight of desktop users completely. Side by side windows on a 25″ monitor aren’t remotely comparable to a split window, though they might be on a netbook. OS X has always been dreadful on large screens, we shouldn’t take GNOME down the same path.

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About Sam Thursfield

Who's that kid in the back of the room? He's setting all his papers on fire! Where did he get that crazy smile? We all think he's really weird.
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